For Crypto, The Price of Success May Be Regulation
Bloomberg Businessweek|May 17, 2021
Governments could finally target the anonymity that makes Bitcoin a haven for hackers
Joe Light

When Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Vice Chairman Charlie Munger earlier this month called Bitcoin “useful to kidnappers and extortionists” and “contrary to the interests of civilization,” crypto enthusiasts mocked his investment performance, compared him to an elderly Muppet, and said he was too old to understand the technology. Michael Saylor, a crypto investor and chief executive officer of MicroStrategy Inc., asked rhetorically in an interview with a precious metals website, “Do you go to your great-grandfather for investment advice on new technologies?”

Munger’s warning is looking pretty good about now. Days ago, a criminal gang hacked Colonial Pipeline Co., in effect shutting down the conduit for 45% of the East Coast’s fuel supply. Details of the hack haven’t been revealed, but the group’s modus operandi is to encrypt its victims’ data and threaten to release it publicly unless paid a ransom in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.

How’s that for “contrary to the interests of civilization”?

The overwhelming majority of Bitcoin users have nothing to do with the criminal underworld, and plenty a heist is funded by plain old U.S. dollars. Blaming Bitcoin for the activities of its holders is a bit like getting mad at a $100 bill for being used in a drug deal.

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